CENTER FOR ARMS CONTROL AND NON-PROLIFERATION CALLS IRANIAN ELECTION RESULT ‘CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC’
Washington DC – June 15, 2013– Press Advisory – With over 70 percent of precincts counted, reports indicate the Hassan Rohani, the most moderate of six candidates, has been elected the new president of Iran.
Laicie Heeley, the Center’s Director of Middle East and Defense Policy, suggested: “This shift is significant, and gives Iran-watchers reason to be cautiously optimistic. The exit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an inflammatory figure on the world stage, will immediately shift the tone and perhaps even the policy of the country.”
“We won’t let the past eight years be continued,” Rohani told a cheering crowd during his campaign. “They brought sanctions for the country. Yet, they are proud of it. I’ll pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace. We will also reconcile with the world.”
While Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will retain the ultimate decision-making power, past presidents have demonstrated their ability to move the country in a favorable direction.
Over the course of his presidency, Ahmadinejad’s predecessor Mohammad Khatami was able to demonstrate Iran’s commitment to international obligations and maintain a relatively good relationship with the West.
It is during his time that Iran agreed to halt its uranium enrichment activities and grant U.N. inspectors full access to its nuclear facilities. These actions took place under the same supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“With recent reports indicating that Iran may be open to broad discussions with the United States, now is the time for the Obama administration to capitalize on the leverage gained from sanctions and seek an end to the current nuclear impasse,” said Heeley.
“The administration should come to the table with a strong, mutually beneficial deal that includes some sanctions relief. While there is no guarantee that such a deal will deliver, it can be guaranteed that a failure to recognize this current moment of opportunity will result in another lost chance for a non-military solution, bringing us one step closer to a nuclear Iran,” she concluded.
The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington-based non-profit think tank working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons stockpiled across the globe, increase international nonproliferation programs targeted at preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism, redirect U.S. military spending to address 21st century security threats and halt the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. www.armscontrolcenter.org